Should you take a text message from a customer? What about a prospect? The fact is that you already do – so why don’t you put it out there for marketing on your website?
If you’re like me, text messaging is a highly personal thing. I don’t really want people that I don’t know to text me. When I’m at dinner or the office, I don’t want random text messages flooding my phone. We’ve been taught that texting is personal. That’s part of what makes it effective. We all love that “ding,” and we rush to get a response in. It makes us feel connected, valued, and in-the-know.
In fact, I think American’s are addicted to text.
So the question remains: why don’t we allow texting for business? Or why is it not listed on our website? Is it because we don’t think it will work? Our own habits prove the opposite.
Do we think we won’t be able to convey the right message via text? We text our spouses, kids, and family to communicate information that’s more important than the specs of whatever widget or service we sell.
So why is it?
Text is a Another Channel
No matter how you feel about text, it’s sticking. It’s a huge part of modern communication, so why don’t we use it in the sales context?
I think the challenge comes down to having a plan for how to use text for your sales and customer services processes.
Success in texting depends on capitalizing on its advantages and minimizing its dangers.
- It’s fast access and quick response
- It’s short and concise
- It allows for minor lag if the expectations are set.
- Shallow, fact-based conversation moves quickly.
- Expectations – they are all different for different people
- It can quickly become a 24/7/365 channel if you let it
- It will not encourage “thinking before sending” when communicating with clients
- Deeper importance, meaning, and value can be lost
How We Can Use It Well
When we consider the advantages of texting, we can simply place it in the context that makes the most sense.
In sales, for example, I’d place it in the front of the process, where we could simply do some minimal conversation and then move into the normal process. I’d allow for text to start a conversation with the goal being the first presentation – in our process, this could replace an intro call.
Taking a few texts about your services and your capabilities could allow you to vet the prospect faster on your end, as well. You can use a service like zingle.me to help manage that.
But we would not want to discuss pricing, or anything of major importance, because that type of conversation is not done well via text.
Do you think you could text with a prospect before making a decision to move to the next step?
I think we’d all say yes.
That might be all the intent needed. Once you move past that step, the text messaging moves to email, and you can explain that process to your client as the relationship changes. Or you keep text as an option as it makes sense for your business.
Where Text Would Kill You
But watch out. We would not want to invite the “evils” of text messages into our processes.
Text messages should not be your primary mode of communication with your client if you are a services business. One only needs to think about what life in customer services would be like if your clients had unfettered access to your inbox. It’s already a major undertaking to manage email boxes and categorize requests. The idea that every request would be responded to immediately via text makes you crazy just thinking about it.
Text should also not be for important conversations. We bridged this above, but text messages should not replace face-to-face conversations when it comes down to how we communicate.
What Do You Think?
Is it worth trying it out? What would you have to lose?
I think we’ll see more and more businesses adopt text numbers as part of the overall scheme of inbound communication, especially in the sales context. If you’d like to talk more about this, please reach out, and let’s talk about a plan for your sales.